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Dear Partner,

Sometimes we forget that nothing we see in this natural world is as it was when God first created it. God's Word tells us that all of creation fell when Adam sinned (Rom 8:19-22). In God's original plan there was no sin and no death. Tornadoes did not destroy people's lives and homes. Earthquakes did not kill multitudes. The lion did not eat the lamb.

We know that man was originally made in the image of God but when man fell through sin, death entered his nature. That sin nature diminished man from his original likeness and he developed many "animal like" appetites like those we see in the fallen natural world around us. Jude described people who are void of God's Spirit and who live their lives according to the carnal "animal-like" appetites of the flesh. Let's look at these verses in the Living Bible:

Jude 1:10-11   But these men mock and curse at anything they do not understand, and like animals, they do whatever they feel like, thereby ruining their souls. Woe upon them! For they follow the example of Cain who killed his brother; and like Balaam, they will do anything for money; and like Korah, they have disobeyed God and will die under his curse.

God did not make man to live like animals. Think about dogs for a minute. Male dogs will have as many female partners as will let them. God does not call it sin when dogs behave that way because they are only doing what comes natural to them. But God does call it sin when man behaves that way. Why? Because man is created on a higher plane than the animal kingdom. God wants man to walk "higher" than the animal kingdom. Man is to reflect the nature of God.

God made a decision from the beginning that everyone who would believe His Word down through the ages would not continue in their fallen state, but would eventually be "conformed to the image of His Son." At the cross we were given much more than forgiveness of sin. God didn't want to just forgive man and leave him the same old fallen creature he had become. He wanted man restored back the way He originally created man made in the image of God. Jesus Christ is the express image of God (Heb 1:3) and God intends for every believer to be "conformed to the image of His Son."

Rom 8:29   For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. [KJV]

I think the Living Bible does a really good job of stating this truth in modern language:

Rom 8:29   For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him--and all along he knew who would--should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers. [Living Bible]

Eventually there will be a new heaven and a new earth that has no sin and no death. We will receive glorified bodies like that of Jesus. Those bodies will not have the motions of sin working in them. (I am REALLY looking forward to having one of those bodies!) But for now, God has done a miracle for us. Something man could never do on his own. When a person is born again by receiving Christ, His nature comes into us and that old, dead, sin-loving nature that was in us before is changed in the twinkling of an eye and we receive within us a nature that is made in the image of God. Hallelujah! Man is no longer "animal-like" in his nature. In our spirit, we have the nature of God.

At this point we ask, "If that is so, then why do I still sometimes sin?" Part of the reason is we are still wearing bodies that have the "motions of sin" (Rom :5) working in them. Our bodies have not yet been redeemed. The body has to be kept under the dominion of our new nature. But how does that happen? By the renewing of the mind!

Rom 12:2   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

There are two opposing forces always at war trying to influence our mind. The old selfish, greedy, "animal-like" tendencies of the flesh are always trying to gain approval from our mind to walk a life that is not very much like God. But Christ's nature within is always speaking to our mind in order that we can walk on a higher plane than that of the fallen animal kingdom. The fruit of our lives depends on which influence we bow to the fallen appetites of the flesh or to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All of us could share times when we have bowed to each. When we miss it we must not become despondent, but rather confess our sins and be quick to repent knowing that the blood of Jesus is ever present to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Be encouraged. You are a new creature in Christ Jesus. Continue to renew your mind to the truths of God's Word. As your mind comes into agreement with what God says about you, your walk will more and more be on a higher plane. God is your Father and you have been reborn in His image.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you.   We thank God for your generous and giving heart.   God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


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